Monday, March 19, 2007

WEEK OF MARCH 19 GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY--COMMENT ON TOWN ISSUES

Please comment on town issues. Your input is always appreciated - especially when it's issue oriented, not name calling!

64 comments:

Ana Maria Allman said...

Hello Mr. Feiner,

I live near Maria Regina H.S. and was wondering who is responsible for the clean up of the trash that is thrown on their grounds along Shaw, Spencer and Keats. I am constantly picking up the trash that falls along my block, which is Shaw and Verne. Also, I'm getting tired of the smell left behind by the dogs. I noticed signs posted along Keats in regards to curbing your dog and fines for throwing trash. I was wondering if each sign could be put along Verne and Shaw as well, and if someone can reinforce this. Also, have you noticed the trash along Dobbs Ferry Roads lately? Hartsdale is a beautiful community. It's a shame others don't share this view.

Anonymous said...

When will the Town Board respond to the comptroller's report regarding WESTHELP. The state comptroller provided the Town Board with 90 days to issue a response? Heard nothing.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we have Welcome to Greenburgh signs at the town lines? The only one I've ever seen is on East Grassy Sprain. Every other city and village and town seems to have some signage. Doesn't have to be fancy like Yonkers or the villages. All we have are the grammatically incorrect "all bicyclist" signs which are sort of embarrassing.

Jim Lasser said...

The name of the civic association that many bloggers love to hate is actually the Edgemont Community Council. The Edgemont Civic Association represents one of the 8 areas within the Edgemont School District. Over the years they have been courteous and respectful of Town government and it really isn't fair to blame them for some of the things mentioned or to suggest they oppose everything the Town attempts.
I mention this because it becomes clear that many participants in this blog are more interested in invective than in civil discussion. Worse, they are ignorant of simple, easily confirmed facts.
The free expression of their biases makes it seem unlikely they even want to participate in a dialog - and hiding behind "anonymous" doesn't auger well for future dialog.
I disagree with much of what the Supervisor presents. I think some of it is ill-considered or short-sighted. I even think some of it is a blatant shirking of responsibility. But, differences of opinion are good. The old saying "Great minds think alike" actually ends with the phrase "and fools seldom differ."
I cherish my right to disagree loudly and publicly with the Supervisor and the other members of the Town Board. Vigorous public discourse is completely appropriate - character assassination is not.
Greenburgh's future needs, in my opinion, less politics and more professionalism. We could start with the way we treat this blog.

Anonymous said...

The blog is a privilege -- the constant name calling is a misuse.

hal samis said...

Anyone curious about the Library expansion project? I am. Especially in the new post Valhalla School District era, especially since the Town Council has endeavored to make everything "kosher".

No doubt since it is hard to get anyone in Town government to actually respond to queries while there are political fortunes linked to preserving the myth that the Library expansion is on track and on budget; thus here's my quandry.

The five winning construction contracts were "awarded" mid December. On this basis the Library held their ground-breaking ceremony the end of January.

Just a few messy details in the way of the actual work start. One is that the fifth contract (still unsigned) for the geothermal drilling were prepared for the bidding process by the Construction Manager (as were the other four) in the early Fall. I argue prematurely but done only to alleviate concerns that the project did not appear to be moving ahead.

The hitch was that the Library did not yet have, in place, permits from NYC and NYS to allow drilling (the Library is over the NYC water aqueduct) and without them, no drilling could occur. In fact, the Library/Town had not even applied for these permits even as late as when it became publicly (thanks to the efforts of a bashful resident) known in late November/early December. Nor has the Town yet applied because it is likely that they know that such an exercise would be futile. So a new scam has been launched. Instead of drilling 4-6 deep wells, the Library intends to drill 20 shallow wells some 240 feet away and thus, presumably, avoid the need to obtain permits.
Several residents see this new plan as requiring a new round of bidding as the job has changed substantially (20 wells...). So that is why you don't hear anything. And these same residents also see some problems with where the 20 wells will be located and whether this will interfere with the reduced parking allowed by variance and whether this will require a new site plan etc. So that too is why you don't hear anything. Furthermore, if the drilling plan doesn't work or the transporting of the subsurface water to the building is not effective, then the work as delineated in the four signed contracts will have to be changed costing additional $$$. So that too is why too that you haven't heard anything. But in any case, the weather is still too unstabile to pour concrete but not to prevent the pre-condition, excavation...Don't depend on the truth from Al Regula because residents assume he knows what is going on when he says that everything is ok. A reading of the correspondence between him and the Construction Manager and Architect will establish that he only repeats what they say so when he "reports" to the Town Board you are really hearing the same unified tale but being relayed by different speakers. Ok, so the Public/Residents/Taxpayers/VOTERS are not being told anything. What then do you suppose is happening behind the scenes and why do I mention the post Valhalla world?

Because it IS happening here and it IS happening again, just this time with the roles reversed.
Apparently the Town Council (Bass*, Barnes*, Juettner and Sheehan), the outside construction contract expert, Town Attorney Tim Lewis and Al Regula have hatched a scheme to get around a 60 day cooling off period requirement which effectively prevents the losing contract bidders from crying "foul play" and appealing. The 60 days starts from the awarding of the bids. Since there are already unanswered questions relative to the inclusion of around 14 "alternative" (cost reducing choices) in the original bid package, or not, and whether this knowledge was available to all, the potential for requiring rebidding on all the contracts was daunting. But, what if the winning bidders didn't sign and return the contracts until AFTER the 60 days? Would this make the problem go away? I believe that this or something akin to this solution was suggested by the outside Counsel in offering advice to his client, the Town Board (initially just the Town Council). As a result, depending on whose version you heard, there were a number of "cover" stories circulating including: the bidders didn't have to sign, they were too busy, they had to obtain insurance waivers, etc. Of course without the ability to get answers to the appropriate questions, the Public is kept operating in the dark while the Town Council cries "Executive Session".

But how to distract the Public from the flim-flam? Why not blame the Supervisor for not signing the contracts promptly when they were returned to Town Hall after the 60 days had run out. Even if he argued that signing the four without the vital fifth contract (the geothermal drilling) was not prudent. Nevertheless, the threat of lynching by the Town Council and the invocation that he HAD to sign them under Town Law or risk serious consequences caused Feiner to buckle under the pressure.

Now three weeks later, what is going on. Where does the geothermal drilling scam stand (or fall)? Where is the new agreement with the Construction Manager that was promised over three months ago? Where is the money from the obviously unfunded furniture and technology contracts (there may be more missing but so are the answers to these questions) coming from?

But don't worry, be happy and put your check book in the hands of the Town Council (Bass*. Barnes* Juettner, liasion to the Library who praises everyone for their outstanding work so far and, Mr. Sheehan). By the way, ask Mr. Sheehan how well the John Jay expansion went.

Concerned residents have a lot of questions. Unfortunately the only thing preventing them from being answered is the concerted effort of the Town Council (Bass*, Barnes*, Juettner and Sheehan). Ask them ,or their on-staff publicist, the questions and wait (patiently, very patiently) for the answers.

* denotes those members up for re-election this fall.

Note to bloggers (or would be): Let's see if anyone responds with answers to these questions or instead further deflects and disguises the problem. Hey, here's a novel idea: let's talk about something else or replay some anti-Feiner tiresome tirade.

Michael Kolesar said...

I thank my lucky stars that I don't live in the unincorporated portion of the Town based upon Hal Samis's postings. What a fiasco !!!

Although the new firehouse in Ardsley is only a fraction of the Greenburgh Library project ($4.5 million), it is pretty much on schedule and close or maybe even slightly below budget. Drive by and see some real progress.

Jim Lasser said...

Begging Mr. Samis' pardon, but there are some misconceptions in his library screed. First, contrary to his repeated assertions based on his assumptions, municipal construction contracts under the Wickes Law are nothing like private construction contracts. If they were, many of his written concerns expressed in recent months would make enormous sense. The way municipal entities have to put projects out for bid virtually insures the true cost of the project cannot be known in advance because there is NO money available to pay an architect for finished drawings let alone working plans until the voters have approved the project at the polls. Unless the sponsor (in this case the Town of Greenburgh) is willing to commit funds from its operating budget without certainty of repayment (if the voters don't approve there can be no reimbursement) anything beyond "concept" drawings are simply not available. Next, it is NOT customary to include the cost of interest to repay the bonds in calculating the price - any more than a homeowner figures the interest on his mortgage as part of the price of his home. It may arguably be short-sighted, but it is a reality. Finally, the Town of Greenburgh is the contracting entity - the library board is just as lame as you make them out to be - but building the library is outside the scope of their authority. The reason the geothermal permits weren't filed for by the Supervisor (who has the ltimate legal responsibility as the Chief Executive Officer of the Town) may have been because the DPW's leader "forgot" the NYC aqueduct ran close enough to the property to be a concern.
There is certainly enough blame to go around on this one - please just get your expectations on municipal projects aligned with the requirements of the Wickes Law.
Ardsley's fire house may not be a Wickes Law project - I honestly don't know - but I believe the threshold is $5 million. The fire house is only $4.5 million.
Finally - the fittings and furnishings which are not in the budget are, it is hoped, going to be donated. There is also a Greenburgh Public Library Foundation which has been tasked to raise those funds...I know, because I'm one of the volunteers.

Paul - time to move on for sake of Town said...

From the New York Times in 2005:

Mr. Feiner was a precocious politician many years ago, but his tenure -- 13 years and counting -- is now well into F.D.R. territory. This page is not at all fond of term limits, but in this case, a decade and a half feels about right. There is a weariness in Greenburgh -- not in Mr. Feiner's eyes, which light up whenever he talks about a new initiative to extend town services in some creative way -- but among voters who have tired of the battles, the secession talk, the lawsuits, the whole Feiner factor.

After all this time, the position and the person of the Greenburgh town supervisor have blurred together. Town government calls to mind a terrible political marriage being kept together for the sake of the constituents. That is not a good thing.


For the sake of peace in the valley, for a different set of eyes on old problems, and to liberate Mr. Feiner to extend his energy and talents into other realms of public service, this page endorses William Greenawalt.

Anonymous said...

the blog should not be used for election campaigning -but to highlight issue positions.

Anonymous said...

GREENAWALT ========YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING.

term limits is an issue for greenburgh said...

i beg to differ. term limits is a legitimate issue. when it comes to the supervisor, the only full time elected official on the town board, his long tenure is an issue in the same way he continues to evade the town's ethics code by taking money from representatives of developers and others with applications before town boards. term limits are particularly important in the one party town of greenburgh. scarsdale has term limits for mayor and its trustees. why not greenburgh?

Anonymous said...

Term limits and professional management - could be a recipe for success.

Anonymous said...

The Town Council, and many bloggers, keep saying that the Supervisor is the only full-time position, and this justifies term limits for him.

What people may not know is that in most towns the Supervisor is a part-time position. I guess it became a full-time position in Greenburgh because Greenburgh residents are rich suckers and don't know that they are being bilked.

Term limits are ordinarily a bad idea. The voters should decide when someone's term ends. But in Greenburgh the Democratic Party dominates and whoever is nominated will win. In that case term limits make lots of sense.

But not only Feiner. Juettner is a terrible trustee, interested only in permanant election. She never says anything of value. What she has done to enable the library fiasco is beyond excuse. She lets Sheehan do all the talking and she quietly nods. She should also be term-limited out.

And what can one say about Barnes? She is Juettner with a little more class, but no more useful.

Yes, term limits for Greenburgh. And term limits for the Democratic Party in Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

"Term limits and professional management - could be a recipe for success."

Heck, I'd be satisfied merely with professional management - a mayor with an MBA and a background in PR.

Anonymous said...

Berger launches bid for Greenburgh supervisor job
By Rebecca Baker
The Journal News

(Original publication: March 21, 2007)
DOBBS FERRY - Suzanne Berger, the head of Greenburgh's Democratic Town Committee, announced her intention today to unseat longtime Town Supervisor Paul Feiner in a Democratic primary.

Berger, a 50-year-old attorney from Dobbs Ferry, launched her candidacy at a press conference this afternoon at Old Croton Aqueduct State Park.

"The incumbent has been in office for 16 years and during this time Greenburgh has become increasingly divided and dysfunctional," she said. "We need to regain the trust of all our residents."

The race will affect roughly 90,000 people in Greenburgh, which is Westchester's largest town. It's six villages - Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington and Tarrytown - and the town outside the villages have a combined population second only to Yonkers in the county.

Feiner has been Greenburgh's supervisor for 16 years. He was re-elected in 2005 by fewer than 200 votes.


==================

Paul- You have my trust and my vote!

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Jim, I don't recall whether the Wickes Law applies re the Ardsley project, but my point is that we planned the project out, hired a professional project manager, and he / they are delivering "value" to the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

PEOPLE ALL OVER TOWN, THE UNINCORPORATED PORTION & THE VILLAGES ARE SAYING "SUZANNE WHO?", WAKE-UP THIS IS JUST A RUSE TO DIFFUSE FEINER'S STRENGTH IN THE VILLAGES & ALLOW A THIRD PARTY FROM THE UNINCORPORATED AREAS TO WIN A THREE OR POSSIBLY 4-WAY SPLIT IN THE PRIMARY--
THE TOWN DESPARATELY NEEDS TO ELECT AN INDEPENDENT, BEHOVEN TO NONE, WITH ADMINISTRATIVE ABILITIES, IRREGARDLESS OF WHAT POLITICAL LINE THAT CANDIDATE ENDS UP ON!!

Anonymous said...

actually, things would probably get a lot calmer in Greenburgh if Paul started working the same hours as our illustrious Town Clerk

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Lasser,
(bloggers note that I discussed his posting with him this afternoon and that I would be replying in kind)

It is with all due respect that I respond because Mr. Lasser is one of the Edgemont residents that I do respect but even this has its limits with regard to accurately portraying the Library situation. Although Jim has danced around some of the sticky issues and avoided the direct confrontation that I favor, he is not without some shackles and history preventing the big step forward to redemption.

Mr. Lasser is familiar with municipal construction woes from his years on the Edgemont School Board. Up to recently he has abided by the "omerta" of being a member of the Greenburgh Public Libray Foundation but as the schism between that organization and the Greenburgh Library Board of Trustees has become wider (you should only know their side as presented at their Trustee meetings, the frustrations of dealing with Howard Jacobs have overcome the coda "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas..."

Thus we see hints in his posting:
"The Library Board is just as lame as you make them out to be..." and
"There is certainly enough blame to go around on this one..."

However where he also goes by rote is somehow to try to bounce the blame back to Supervisor Feiner and that along with certain factual errors was enough to generate my call to him. I also was curious about his starting point which was contrary to most blogs replies which respond to the contents of the most recent posting. Mr. Lasser chose to set the wayback machine dial to 2004 when the most latest library expansion movement rose from the ashes.

Jim's take is to say that the Library did not have funds to hire an architect to produce the near final set of plans which would have established an accurate cost estimate of the project. The only source available to pay for this by the Library was their inadequate operating budget and thus the only way to pay the architect for his work would be to have the funding from the referendum proceeds.
This takes on the drapings of the classic chicken or the egg conundrum. However what Lasser overlooks is that there was an existing Library Fund with a substantial balance but nowhere near enough to sustain the hit that would be the project estimated $1,573,157 for Architect and Engineering fees. Mr. Lasser suggests that if this was a not a municipal and Wicks law bound project that a private entity would be able from the beginning to commit to this kind of obligation in order to produce a more accurate assessment of the project cost. I think not.

But if he were correct, then this creates another problem. If the estimate produced by Triton (the construction manager) in November 2004 which indicated the assumed $19,867,747 project cost (henceforth referred to as $19.9 million) was not accurate (detailed as it is) then why was the Library Board of Trustees handing out this project estimate at all of their "information" sessions and saying that htis is what it would cost? Either they knew that the piece of paper would not withstand the test of time, topography, tempers and temerity or they were unaware of the true and likely cost that would be discovered by the time the 90% plans were developed. If the former, they are guilty of fraud; if the latter, they are guilty of ignorance which has been my charge all along. I and echoed by Feiner claimed that they were rushing the Referendum on a project that they didn't yet understand and that there were unanswered questions. Subplot has Feiner arguing for November, Library arguing for March (then May) and both sides had their own justification. But then we have the Library with their team of "experts" to contend with saying they have no doubts so in the end, Jim, I think you have to accept that this project is not special, unique or subject to any other consideration because it is a municipal Wicks law project -- something which was known to the Construction Manager and the Architect from the start.

And why is Mr. Lasser now alerting the Public to the difficulties in estimating the project cost from very preliminary and raw form architectural plans? Because he has discerned that the project is indeed over budget while it is in even worse shape then he thinks. Whereas he is aware that the Library Foundation is charged with raising money for furniture etc. what he did not know this afternoon is that the furniture (FF&E) and the Technology needs were included in the November 2004 $19.9 estimate thus were expected to paid for from that funding, not to have to beg in the streets. Included they were to the extent of $978,600 and $186,400. What the concerned public is trying, so far unsuccessfully because Al Regula, bowing to the Town Council direction will not identify the other budget items which also are not included in the five contracts which total $15.8 million by themselves.

And let me assure Mr. Lasser and readers that there are some other sizeable items that get added in as well. The $1.6 million for the Architect and Engineering, the $700 to $800,000+ for the Construction Manager plus surveys, legal, specialty consultants etc.
Lest you forget, the original $19.9 million was to provide for a better Library than will actually be delivered. Less meeting room space, less parking, cheaper grades of finishings, etc.
So when Mr. Regula assures the Town Council (remember Bass and Barnes, they're up for reelection this Fall, Juettner, the know nothing Library liaison and Sheehan, the know everything bully) that everything is ok and the project is neither behind schedule or over budget, you have to wonder what Greenburgh they live in.

Mr. Lasser is quite correct in that it is not normal to include the financing costs when discussing the project expense. Shame on me! You see I look, abnormally if need, at how much the project is actually going to cost taxpayers not the lower number which sounds more comforting and less costly. Of course Ossining has just completed a slightly larger, built from scratch all new Library for much less than our "$19.9" million project -- and with a much larger auditorium for a much smaller community. And because they don't have a cyber mobile they didn't have to protect it from the weather and thus they could save money...unless you consider that we do have a cyber mobile which will not be protected either.

Thus when I say $30 million, it is the same cost to taxpayers as the number which is 50% of the annual operating budget for the entire unincorporated portion of Town, the same section which of Town which pays 100% of the Greenburgh library expansion cost because the Villages have their own libraries.
And that does not include the roughly $3.8 million of ANNUAL operating expense to maintain the Library. So when so much money is in the hands of the Library Board of Trustees who even Mr. Lasser refers to as "lame", one such as myself feels a little sense of urgency when requesting oversight or at least the answers to my or other citizens' questions. But no, says the Town Council.

Bookmark that attitude when you pull the levers in November.

And here is the basic difference between Mr. Lasser and myself. Mr. Lasser wants to make Supervisor Feiner the villain because he is the Chief Financial Officer of the Town, the Chief Operating Officer and thus where the buck stops. Those who have witnessed the actions of the "new" Town Council will recognize that those days, if ever as portrayed by those who forget the supporting votes, are certainly not how things get done today.
Town Attorney Tim Lewis tells the Supervisor that he is required to sign the construction contracts. The Supervisor cannot run the Town Board meeting or even the Town Board work session and get the experts when present to answer the questions of the Public. The Town Council overrules him saying it is just a "Report". Remember when Mr. Sheehan used to be big on asking questions? Today only he is permitted. Part of the underlying problem is the quasi independent status that the Library claims for itself. Neither fish nor fowl, neither independent district nor town department, neither financially independent but still able to determine its own operating budget and set its own employee remuneration. Neither the Library nor the Town Council wants this murkiness to go away. So how then does Mr. Lasser propose that the Supervisor should be running the Library expansion project? Remember too that it is THE LIBRARY which holds a special place in the heart of Fairview parents and a special tournament prize for Edgemont when jousting with the Supervisor. Effectively, the Supervisor is lucky that he is allowed to retain his library card privileges. Mr. Lasser is wholly absurd when he scripts "the reason the geothermal permits weren't filed by the Supervisor (who has the ultimate legal responsiblity...)..." and then goes on to pair him with Al Regula as his accomplice in this treachery. This is really going off the deep end, Jim. Remember too that the Town Council appointed Mr. Regula to his role while the Supervisor argued for an independent Project Manager.

I know this reads like a revised version of "I come to bury Casesar not to praise him but dear Jim..." but dear Jim you ARE so wrong and that may be because you have been absent so long from the center.
You need to know that the Town Council is really running the show and that they think they have Feiner trapped on this issue. If he gets magisterial and asserts himself too strongly he is anti-LIBRARY, not anti-project, not anti-runaway project without oversight. The Library Board did the spade work to dig the hole (not at the site) and the Town Council is trying to jostle position Feiner into it. If he complies, the residents lose big time. And while the clock is ticking the project will "sail" along past the November 2007 elections and even past the November 2009 elections when shortly afterwards the manure will hit the fan. In the meantime it is the mission of the Town Council to hide the bad news until they can set up one of their own in 2009 as Supervisor and then it won't matter anymore.

And as we discussed, the Library even with available funds to choose any Construction Manager before the Referendum didn't want to block their back door escape so they chose Triton (not the low bidder) because Triton was the only respondent who said that it wouldn't charge for pre-Referendum services. A good deal? Shrewd bargaining by the Libary Board? The "record" shows that Triton, which estimated their own fee in their own estimate at $612,000 promply billed the Library for $680,000 after the Referendum. The $68,000 difference? Why that was their pre-Referendum fee. And what does the $680,000 fee buy? Why their services thru November 2007, 2007, 2007 (this year you idiots). So when the estimated two years of construction really begins (let's be generous and say that they began this January) they will start billing the Town monthly over $20,000 until the end of the job or walk. You see in this one respect they are the "experts". They know that the job would never start in Spring 2006 as promised by the Library Board when holding the Referndum in May 2005. And just to make sure that the gravy train didn't end soon, no one filed for drilling permits. But Al Regula and Diana Juettner and the rest of the Town Council say everything is fine; Juettner even praises Regula for his hard work.

Run these people out of Town.

So dear Jim, "the fault is not in our stars" but in allowing these people to control not $19.9 but $30 million of taxpayer dollars and knowledgeable people not speaking out. On this matter Feiner is right and his opposing team is wrong. If supporting the anti-Feiner crowd and ignoring this costly item serves a better purpose, if being silent by being on the Library Foundation is justification, if all you were doing is following orders, this is a peculiar way to promote the proposition that this couldn't happen with a Town Manager. If the buck has to stop somewhere; getting Feiner out of office just isn't worth $30 million. And reasonable men will always question the motivation of those who quarrel over the trees and ignore the forest. Or ignore the trees and the forest and quarrel over tree cutting policies.

Don't be half in and half out on this one. The Lords of Edgemont don't care; they're playing for high stakes. Unfortunately they're being bankrolled, not with their own money, but using the dollars paid as taxes by all of the residents of unincorporated. If A or B is such an injustice vis a vis the insurance settlement and the Taxter Ridge purchase, I say $6 million (insurance) and $4 million Taxter plus the annual upkeep) = $10 million+/- is at least as important to an unincorporated taxpayer's checkbook as the $19.9 library expense. Even without adding the interest because it "normally isn't considered" and the extra money you and the Foundation have to raise so that the doors can open on a project which is "not over budget".

Come on in Jim, the water's fine.
Don't just dip your toe at the high water line.

Anonymous said...

Any truth to the rumor that Greenawalt will run for the town council?

hal samis said...

Dear Everyone Else,

Before you charge, know too that from day one of the estimate, it included for unknowns, contingencies, mrs. murphy's chowder, imponderables and inflation, a built in amount equivalent to 19% of the project total. The sucessful winnng bid amounts of the contracts reflect the obligation of the vendor to perform the work and obtain the necessary materials for their contracted price. As such, there should no longer be the need to discuss contingencies etc. What you see (or in Greenburgh, are told) is what you are supposed to get. Any surprises arising after the point in time when the bid packages were sent out cannot be justified as flukes. Any resulting change orders which lead to additional costs are clearly the fault, errors or omissions of the Library team/plan.

However, we already know about one "fluke" which is both the name for hiding incompetence and the name of the species of fish that would believe otherwise.

The "forced" switch in the geothermal drilling plan from 4-6 deep holes to 20 more distant but shallower holes is not what was in the original bid package and thus the contract must be offered for rebidding. Of they could stay with the original program and seek permits from NYC/NYS.

Which brings me to another matter but to do so I have to mention a Greenburgh hero by name, Bob Reninger. Bob was the first to argue that even before the Architect set about drawing building plans, even before the Referendum was ordained...a Survey would be necessary. But the Library team of experts and the Town Council ignored him. One of the things the Survey would establish was the location of the NYC water aqueduct and it is this uncertainty which is the root of all the ensuing geothermal drilling location problems.

Mr. Reninger, the head of Broadview, the neighboring civic association to the Library site has been consistently ignored in his information requests to the Library, the Town Board, the DPW and the Town Attorney.

Bad things don't just happen to good people. Unless they are perceived to be a threat from their curiosity.

Mr. Reninger will probably be uncomfortable with seeing his name mentioned and I do so with peril.
However the reason I do so is to point out how "concern" can be exhibited by the Town Council when it sees an added value: like when a civic association is shown alleged disrespect by the Supervisor.

Think about their great concern about the scheduling of a meeting regarding a Route 119 proposed supermarket, a very preliminary meeting which Francis Sheehan knew about and mentioned at the Council of Greenburgh Civic Association meeting over a week before the Town Board meeting when he acted as though he and the Town Council were unaware of this meeting. "Mr. Feiner, when did you tell the Board about..." I suggest that if Mr. Sheehan knew about the meeting a week before the Town Board meeting, that he may have mentioned it to his peers himself. Furthermore, I don't see it as good SOP to hobble the Town Supervisor, a full time employee to arrange his schedule to suit the availability of the four part time Council employees. Town Hall operates five days a week like any other business, roughly 9 to 5.
Other than playing the newly fashionable Board game of trying to embarrass the Supervisor, I argue that if you voluntarily seek a well-paying part time job (with full benefits and perks) and you still maintain a time-consuming full time job elsewhere, that you had best shut-up or consider creating new encumbrances upon the eligibility requirements for Town Council members. Many residents of Greenburgh do not earn at their full time employment what Town Council members earn for part time work, plus the generous Town benefits. Has the Town Council no sense of fair play or decency for all of their public posturing.

As for the CGCA, it meets for years on the third Tuesday of the month which Mr. Sheehan knows very well as he is an attendee. Since civic associations are so dear to the Town Council (remember that they called a special meeting to change the date of the Supervisor scheduled supermarket meeting) to insure that the head of the neighboring civic association could attend.

Raise your hand if you see where this is going.

First stop: they set a likely contentious meeting time (which had every reason to run late or long) which could conflict with the CGCA meeting scheduled at the Community Center an hour later. Is this the badge of respect for the collection of civic associations which attend the CGCA. The same respect that they are defending full out for just one civic association.

Second stop: Back to Mr. Reninger and his civic association, also a neighboring assocation to a development site, the Library and across from the proposed new Greenburgh Health Center. Mr. Reninger, because he is very knowledgeable about these matters and thus poses a threat to the vote getting mind set of the Town Council, gets no respect and gets no information without a struggle and multiple FOIL requests.

CONCLUSION:

It seems that the Town Council plays the "show concern for the civic association" card only when they want and only when it serves their own interest.

WHAT TO DO:

Remember this when you vote this November or in the September Primary.
This year's "must to avoid" names, Steve Bass and Eddie Mae Barnes.

hal samis said...

Dear all:

You know that the Library is my issue. Thus I feel compelled to respond to every and each attempt to whitewash the problems.

Thus, when I open my Journal News this morning and see that Ms. Berger wants to kidnap the issue to gain credentials with the voters of the unincorporated section, something she must do to win as just divvying up the village vote isn't enough, she had best look to another unincorporated issue other than the Library which she clearly doesn't understand.

As reported "Berger said she would ensure that the $20 million Greenburgh Public Library expansion would be finished on time and on budget..."

How does she expect to do that?

The project is already over budget and a year behind schedule.

Let's say she first gets to November and wins there. She takes office in January 2008. The major Library contracts have already been signed in March, and perhaps nine months (see, I'm not even counting from the late January "ground-breaking") of actual construction have already occurred. She "discovers" problems in the project and the very first day behind her new desk, she dedicates herself to fulfilling this campaign promise.

Putting all over town business aside she works tirelessly only to recognize that at this point in the construction calendar, the fixes are more costly to implement and thus her only choices are to insist on expensive change orders, shut the project down or complete what can be finished with the remaining dollars and open the doors without completing the project.

Or she can ask Mr. Lasser to work harder and raise more money so that additional capital funding can bail out the project and the Library Trustees can say that we only cost the taxpayers $19.9 million.

Or she can continue the fiction that the Town Council has tolerated and continue to approve ficticious operating expenses in the annual budget which when not spent at year end will flow into the "Library Fund" (not back to the Town or taxpayers) which substantial balances will be used to subsidize the construction project. Fortunately for her, if she wins, the 2008 operating budget will have already been approved by her fellow Democrat supporters on the Town Council and she will inherit a Library departmental budget loaded down with enormously marked up line items such as office equipment, postage, conferences, etc. which will actually be dollars directed to close the gap in the expansion project.

So with her running start, the best that Ms. Berger can throw at voters is more of the same old same old. So much for a Spring start and right time for new growth theme.

Ms. Berger's handlers need to do a better job in packaging their candidate. She has no experience running a municipalty, she has even less understanding of the problems of the unincorporated section and her real function is only to be the spoiler for Feiner and Greenawalt by dividing the Democratic votes from the villages.

Just look for a different passport than the Library issue.

Michael Kolesar said...

Hal, you have been on a roll. I refer to my prior posting. Thank my lucky stars.

Regarding your point about the Library's budget vs. actual spending rates, this should, unless there is a massive fraud going on (which wouldn't necessarily surprise me) show significant under spending by the Library through September 30 along with the projection to the end of the year in the initial 2008 budget submission. It won't be hard to calculate what the impact on the Library fund balance is going to be. If you need my help next Novemeber doing some budget analysis, you know where to reach me.

By the way, expect the Library budget to be charged for everything, including the kitchen sink, with the possibility that funds will then be reallocated in one of the many "Budget Transfer" resolutions that the Town Council routinely approves, but which details I gather are hard to come by, i.e. they are never published before the vote so the public might see and question what is going on. Open government anyone?

What this Town needs is an independent fiscal "watchdog", a role normally fulfilled by a Town Comptroller. Unfortunately, we all already know that the incumbent is in on the "fix", having seen the terrible accounting related to Valhalla payments, the "off books" slush fund, etc. Can we the taxpayers really expect him to blow the whistle when the actual charges come rolling in? Not this taxpayer. He has lost his credibility with me.

Anonymous said...

KOLESAR IS RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

Feiner - the unnamed culprit said...

And who was the architect of the off books slush fund? Supervisor
Paul Feiner. We need a new broom to sweep the Town clean of his questionable conduct and overall ineptitude.

Feiner running again - not a good thing said...

I was very disappointed to learn that Mr. Feiner is running for Supervisor again. Isnt 16 years enough? When Feiner ran two years ago, the NY Times said:

Mr. Feiner was a precocious politician many years ago, but his tenure -- 13 years and counting -- is now well into F.D.R. territory. This page is not at all fond of term limits, but in this case, a decade and a half feels about right. There is a weariness in Greenburgh -- not in Mr. Feiner's eyes, which light up whenever he talks about a new initiative to extend town services in some creative way -- but among voters who have tired of the battles, the secession talk, the lawsuits, the whole Feiner factor.

After all this time, the position and the person of the Greenburgh town supervisor have blurred together. Town government calls to mind a terrible political marriage being kept together for the sake of the constituents. That is not a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Crime is low.
Recreation programs are terrific.
Sanitation -excellent.
Great children's library!
Snow removal--off the charts.
Town staff--friendly.
Problems get solved.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne Berger, Bill Greenwalt and Terry Williams.

How's that for a knock out ticket?

I guess Greenburgh will really need to hit rock bottom, before the voters run to the windows and start yelling that they are mad as hell and won't take it any more.

Talk about nightmare scenarios!

Anonymous said...

Haha ... I want to live in 5:17's fantasy town!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Feiner isn't really going to run for re-election, is he?! If he does, I'd feel some pity for him. It would further indicate that he lacks intelligence and foresight to let Greenburgh evolve.

Someone please promise me that an experienced CEO with a corporate management background will be running.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that no one listened to FEINER AND SAMIS concerning the cost of the library. Let's wait and see what the outcome will be,then they will be able to say WE TOLD YOU SO.

Anonymous said...

Promise you that an experienced CEO with management experience will run? Hah! You have two litigators who never managed anything running against Feiner, who has gained experience though you would never know it.

You will have politicos, not managers, running. The town is in bad shape, whoever wins.

Anonymous said...

DISAPPOINTED WITH DEM EXEC COMMITTEE MEETING- ATTENDED DEM EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING. FEINER WAS BETTER THAN USUAL, ANSWERED QUESTIONS DIRECTLY, DID NOT WAFFLE. ANSWERS WERE SURPRISINGLY SHORT. BILL GREENAWALT WAS ALSO ON POINT. SUZANNE BERGER SEEMED OUT OF IT. SHE WAS ALL OVER THE PLACE. TRIED AVOIDING DIRECT ANSWERS. IS SHE AFRAID TO ANTAGONIZE BERNSTEIN OR THE VILLAGES? AT SOME POINT SHE HAS TO TAKE A STAND.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne's campaign people claim Bill Greenawalt is a loser. Any district leader who attended last nights executive committee meeting would appreciate that the opposite is true. Bill answered the questions. Suzanne didn't. Where does she stand? Is she afraid of Bob?

Jim Lasser said...

Dear Anonymous at 7:24 - you do live in the fantasy town described at 4:17. It is Greenburgh as perceived by the Supervisor himself. And that is the heart of the problem the Town faces. The Supervisor does not see the Town as it is - he sees it the way he would like it to be, and does his planning and budgetting accordingly. He has developed a blindspot and it severely hampers him. A psychiatrist might describe the symptom as denial - most of us are more judgemental and have come to believe he isn't doing a good job as Supervisor. He was, and remains, a small-town problem solver. Personable with the voters and focused on individual service to constituients. This fits his skillset and personality well. Unfortunately the reality is that Greenburgh has grown from a small town of 40,000 to more than 90,000 during his tenure. The skills needed to efficiently, economically and effectively run today's Greenburgh conflict with his deeply held values. His "solutions" reflect that conflict - as does his relationship with the Town Council. One cannot indulge in the luxury of individualized solutions to group issues - neither the economic nor temporal resources exist. As one example, buying parkland and keeping it forever green reduces the land available for housing. The inexorable result of fewer homes than people who need housing is higher prices. By "more than tripling" parkland during his tenure, the Supervisor must also accept that housing prices have also risen steeply.
A long term comprehensive plan which neither pulls up the drawbridge and fills the moat with alligators, nor permits rapid housing development and in the short run overwhelms the schools, and still provides the economic infrastructure for business is not an easy prescription to fill. It will take commitment and a willingness of all the parties to compromise, and then a small miracle or two to achieve. What is clear is that neither the tactical managerial acumen nor the strategic vision are character traits visible at Town Hall.

Anonymous said...

I thought Feiner filibustered and waffled his way through the interviews last night.

He never explained why he thought it was fair that the town's costs for providing low-income and minority programs and services throughout the town, including to low-income and minority residents of the villages, should only be charged to unincorporated area taxpayers.

Feiner also couldn't explain why after serious questions had been raised in 2004 about his taking thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from people with active applications before the town, he did nothing for more than two years to get the Ethics Board to hold a meeting, much less issue an opinion on the matter.

He also tossed off criticisms that he'd acted illegally and irresponsibly on WestHelp and on disputes over the A and B budgets.

Instead, Feiner seemed defiant. He said if he didn't get the Democratic committee's endorsement, he'd run against the endorsed candidate in the primary, and that if he didn't win the primary, he'd run against the Democratic nominee in November.

In other words, he let everyone know he could care less what Greenburgh Democrats may think of him.

If we want more of the same divisiveness and dysfunctional town government that have come to characterize Feiner's tenure in office, then Feiner's our man.

If we've had enough, then Democrats can thankfully choose between two very capable alternatives in Greenawalt and Berger, each of whom pledged to support the other, if either were endorsed by the party.

Anonymous said...

This needs immediate action -- why is this in family court

3 accused of beating up 8th-grader in Greenburgh, breaking his leg
By REBECCA BAKER AND JONATHAN BANDLER
THE JOURNAL NEWS


(Original publication: March 23, 2007)
GREENBURGH - Three Woodlands High School sophomores have been accused of attacking a 14-year-old eighth-grader and breaking his leg at the school this week, police said.

Police were looking for a fourth suspect yesterday in connection with the attack, which happened Wednesday morning before the first bell rang.

Timothy Smith, 16, of 8 Carlton St. and a 15-year-old boy were arrested Wednesday at the school. Jean-Claude Chin, 16, of 9 Wyndover Woods was arrested yesterday at the school by police youth officers.

The 15-year-old was not identified because he was charged as a juvenile. His case was assigned to Westchester Family Court in White Plains.

Each sophomore faces a charge of second-degree assault, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison.

Schools Superintendent Josephine Moffett did not return calls seeking comment, but a statement was issued from Moffett through the district's public relations firm. The statement said the administration and school board were "extremely concerned" and are reviewing safety and security procedures.

"Be assured this incident will receive the district's fullest attention," the statement said. "Criminal action of this nature requires a comprehensive and coordinated response."

Greenburgh Police Chief John Kapica said the initial problem was with seniors at the school, who got the 10th-graders involved because the victim was much younger than they were.

The victim told The Journal News that he was attacked at the behest of the older brother of a girl he pushed during an argument Tuesday.

The victim said he and his friends entered the auditorium, shared by both the middle and high schools, after hearing talk that he was being targeted. When the sophomores found him, he said, they let his friends leave but pulled him back inside.

"One asked me if I slapped his cousin," the victim recalled. "I said, 'No I pushed her.' He said, 'That's good enough,' and punched me in my face.' "

The victim said there were 10 boys in the auditorium when he was getting beaten, but only four knocked him down and repeatedly kicked him. A female teacher stopped the fight, he said.

"If she didn't come, I don't know what could have happened," he said.

Paula Berra, co-vice president of the Woodlands Middle School PTA, was shocked to learn about the assault yesterday and is considering pulling her 14-year-old daughter out of the district.

"It's really terrible," she said. "We are very upset about it."

Berra said she pulled her son out of seventh grade three weeks ago because of problems at Woodlands, and now he attends Holy Name of Jesus School in Valhalla.

Stephanie Bellino, a school trustee, said board members had been informed about the assault. She referred questions to board President Lloyd Newland, who could not be reached for comment.

Smith was held overnight at the Westchester County jail with bail set at $1,500. He is due in Town Court this morning.

Smith had been suspended from school and arrested in January after another fight, which Kapica said was unrelated to Wednesday's beating. He was charged at that time with second-degree attempted assault, in part because police were able to view a video of the fight that a bystander took with a cell phone, Kapica said.

That case is still pending, and Smith returned to school Feb. 28 after serving the suspension.

The police chief said it was unfortunate that Smith was able to return after the previous fight. He said the 14-year-old victim's leg injuries were serious but could have been worse.

"If he was kicked in the head, it could have been even more serious," Kapica said.

The victim's mother was relieved that her son's friends were able to get help quickly.

"It just makes you very fearful of the possibilities," she said.

The victim said he spent about six hours at Westchester Medical Center, where his right leg was placed in a hip-to-toe cast. He said he would have to wear a cast for nine weeks.

The boy said he's afraid of what will happen when he returns to school in three weeks.

"After what happened to these kids, I'm afraid one of their friends will come after me," he said. "I don't want something like this to happen to anyone else. It's totally out of control."

Anonymous said...

Hey didn't you know crime is down in Greenburgh, and the Supervisor is responsible. See, he takes time out of his busy crimefighting schedule to make an unnecessary appearance in front of the Town Democratic committee and this is what happens!

Anonymous said...

PLEASE no BERGER OR GREENAWALT.One is too green and the other is over the hill.AGAIN WE DO NOT NEED LAWYERS TAKING OVER GREENBURGH.What we need is a good business manager.No more brain dead politicians.

I'm not Bob said...

I think either Berger or Greenwalt would agree to turn, with the Council's consent, to turn the Supervisor job into a part time one, and hire a professional manager. Lets ask them.

Why wouldnt they, Greenwalt is semi-retired, and being Supervisor is a losing $$ proposition for Berger.

hal samis said...

Dear I'm not Bob,
Had you been at the meeting you would have heard Berger say that she doesn't believe the Town needs a manager yet.

Dear Mr. Lasser,
Interesting approach. I might support a requirement that all candidates for public office submit to psychological profiling.
I would be curious for your write-up on the psyche's of the Town Council members who voted their support for the Supervisor's little boy demands. As was noted at the Dems meeting, Ms Barnes and Ms Williams will also be 16 year veterans and witness to those same changing Greenburgh demographics.

But more interesting and what I would agree most strongly with, to the point of differing with Mr. Feiner, is that I was, am and will be solidly against the purchase of more parkland, especially the concluded Taxter Ridge purchase. Having said that I shall also point out that your view would depart radically from your neighbors in Edgemont who have recently been up in arms about the terrible need to makeover One Dromore into parkland. However since the zoning map solution seems to have alleviated the development concern, all the hubris about the Central Avenue moratorium seems to have disappeared into that moat with the tree and sidewalk issues and the other "crocs" that civic leaders bring before the cooperative media. Could it be that the desperate need for a moratorium was not only just for one section of one road but really just for one small parcel. Hey, let's extend those psyche profiles to so called Edgemont leaders as well and while the testing is being done, let's hook up everyone to lie detectors also.

Dear 10:13 AM,
So you think that the Supervisor should include in his daily schedule a stint on the "crimes which haven't yet occurred" beat? Most executives take credit for the good on their watch just as they are blamed for the bad. Thanks for your invaluable contribution. Get back to me with the details.

Dear 8:49 AM anonymous,
Have another cup of your morning coffee BEFORE you log on. Feiner was the best I've seen him in the past two years. He is not a good public speaker, nor has that aspect improved much by last night; that part is true. However, on what he said, he was clear, decisive and to the point. Perhaps you don't like to see him in this mode or didn't make the adjustment in your intake receptors. Perhaps you were disappointed that he didn't bring up the improved bond rating spiel etc. The A/B issue was skirted by ALL the candidates which was shrewd because what is the percentage in digging in on an issue which, even though the opposite sides say is a slam-dunk, apparently has not been so viewed by the appeals court. In any case, since the Court will be deciding the issue, why would anyone not want to wait the outcome. And apparently you didn't hear Feiner state that the issue should really be in front of Albany lawmakers to create new legislation. Regarding the Ethics Board, perhaps you missed the bit about the need for three votes to pursue the matter. And why does horror of horrors, Feiner's defiance of the Democratic Party seem so new, shocking or bad for Greenburgh. If he decides to piss off Democratic Primary voters, that is his business. I would add that your quote "In other words he let everyone know he could care less what Greenburgh Democrats may think of him" is probably the best slogan that Feiner could produce when he gets to the ballot in November. You on the other hand read like some old tired backroom Party fart. What would be good for Greenburgh residents is not some hacks who slobber over each just because they are Democrats.
The Democratic Party used to mean something years ago relating to an idealogical difference with Republicans; today in Greenburgh it has fallen on hard times if all it can muster is support for other Democrats. Look at the problems the Town faces from the policies which are thrown together from an ALL Democrat dais. Left to right: Tim Lewis, Steve Bass, Eddie Mae Barnes, Paul Feiner, Diana Juettner, Francis Sheehan, Alfreda Williams. If I were running the Democratic Party, I would think again about why Democrats should support Democrats. That is to say if the other Democrats honored that tradition either. Feiner won't support other Democrats and would run if denied the Party line?
Other than Ms. Berger, what did Mr. Bass, Ms. Barnes, Ms. Williams and Mr. Greenawalt say about running on other Party lines? Apparently a little running insurance is something that requires a little explanation. However Feiner was honest and forthright. Ms. Berger could answer similarly because it is not in the cards for her to be back in 2009 for the Supervisor position. She and her backers have another arrangement.

And what did yours truly do (me) at the meeting last night?
I tried to get Ms. Barnes (running unopposed) to acknowledge what everyone knows: that the Library project is over budget with no money for furniture or technology at the very least. All I could get from her was that the Greenburgh Library Foundation is raising money. Yes, Ms. Barnes we already know that is true, even from Mr. Lasser but what I was unsuccessful is stopping the recorded message and get her to admit why the Foundation is out begging. Clearly her 16 years is having its toll on her too especially when she did another chorus of why can't you just let us do our thing and not raise issues.

I would respond if I had time, why must you continue to lie and evade the reality?

Then I questioned Ms. Williams (running unopposed) why her department (Town Clerk) and she as the Town Records Access officer has such a poor track record in fulfilling or even fulfilling late FOIL requests? She had just described all the technology purchased in her reign that made information retrieval so fabulous. So she had to say that the FOIL requests were also for material which is not under her Department's purview. So apparently it is the other departments which are to blame. Furthermore she stated that FOIL laws (to be checked for sure) state that she is responsible only for FOIL requests received during normal business hours. Thus if a fax or email request came in after 5:00 or on the weekend, she doesn't have to regard that as a proper request. Isn't that a good civil servant response.

I did not have the opportunity to question Mr. Bass (running unopposed).

My response to the three of them is yes they will get re-elected because there is no one running against them. What citizens can do is when they leave the voting booth, they can exit by neglecting to vote for any candidate for Town Council or Town Clerk. Let them win by one vote - their own. The Public needs to withdraw the mandate that these people assume when they get elected. Vote only for the Supervisor position, whomever you choose. This will establish how many voters came out and if no one votes for the Town Clerk or Town Council members it will show how many active voters exercised their option to just say no. On the other hand, those loyal Democrats who don't care who or what wins, just as long as it bears the Deomcrat label will continue to vote for the party hacks. Clearly that's how 8:49 anonymous will be voting.

Anonymous said...

The district leaders of the Democratic Party in this town have a hard-earned reputation for being both progressive and activist. We support good government, social justice and work hard to elect Democratic leaders who share our goals.

That's why Feiner had so little appeal to us last night. Berger is capable; Feiner is not. Berger stood for fairness and justice; Feiner did not. Berger offers refreshing change and civility; Feiner offers more of the same rancor, dysfunction and division we've come to expect from him.

We district leaders have an important responsibility. We're not party bosses. Far from it. We either got elected to our positions, or we collected the required number of signatures from our friends and neighbors. We represent grassroots politics at its most basic.

We will not be bullied by Feiner or by Samis or by anyone else from his camp.

If Feiner wants to thumb his nose at us and the candidates we may choose to endorse, as some of us seem to think he did last night, that's his choice.

We'll make our choice based on who we think offers Greenburgh the best opportunity to restore to our town good, solid and progressive government.

Anonymous said...

To the district leader who wrote:

"We'll make our choice based on who we think offers Greenburgh the best opportunity to restore to our town good, solid and progressive government."

If you really mean it, you will get rid of Bass and Barnes as well as Feiner, and support a Supervisor who is not beholden to the town official's and residents who have been so destructive, like Bernstein and his mafia. But since you can't do that, or won't do that, please stop your bloviating.

Anonymous said...

WHAT MAKES THE DEMOCRATIC DISTRICT LEADERS THINK ,THAT THE GREENBURGH RESIDENTS WOULD WANT TO BE UNDER THEIR REGIME AGAIN. TAKING ALL THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE ,WHAT HAVE THEY ACCOMPLISHED SINCE THE WHOLE BOARD IS DEMOCRATIC,NOTHING.WE MUST TRY TO ELECT SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE PARTY, WHO WILL BE BENEFICIAL TO THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE. THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS BEEN A DISGRACE,HERE IN GREENBURGH IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE.THEY HAVE NOT LISTENED TO US AND THEY NEVER ANSWER ANY OF OUR QUESTIONS.,HOW COULD THIS BE GOOD GOVERNMENT ?

Anonymous said...

TO THOSE WHO THINK THAT THIS YEAR'S "TOWN"TION IS GOING TO BE BASED ON PARTY LABELS -- YOU ARE IN FOR A RUDE AWAKENING, AT BEST IT WILL BE THE VILLAGES AGAINST THE UNINCORPORATED & SOMEWHERE DOWN THE LINE, NOT TO LONG FROM NOW, AN INDEPENDENT NON-AFFILIATED
EXPERIENCED CANDIDATE WILL MATERIALIZE & ALL VOTERS WILL REALIZE THAT THE TOWN NEEDS THIS IF ONLY FOR 2-4 YEARS

hal samis said...

Dear Ms. Berger and "Democratic District Leaders",

How unusual in America for politicians to be anonymous when taking a strong position.

Who are you who have earned a reputation for being progressive, activist...
Who are you who support good government, social justice and work hard to elect...

The Democrats that I know, especially those that serve the Party, are proud of their work and are proud to perform it.

Anonymous are not them.

To Ms. Berger especially as she is still Head of the Greenburgh Democratic Party,
I call upon you to identify the writers of this blog entry. If you don't even know who your supporters are, if you encourage anonymous promotion from poison pens which very well may be from your own pen, then you are not the man for Greenburgh.

Or have you so little faith in voters or your own background that this is what you want to be remembered for.

You have a responsibility to the Party to not let its members write this kind of drivel for even you do not speak for the entire local chapter. I believe that one of the three questions to the candidates was whether they would allow their name or image to be used to support candidates who are not the Party choice. I guess you and/or your supporters believe it is ok to do this before the Party has even chosen. You told us that you will be a good Supervisor because you can accomplish results not by going to court but by brokering a compromise in an office.

You didn't tell us that your milieu was really working out of dark alleys.

If you are as equally concerned by this as I am and would like to claim it to be a forgery please dipatch either a disclaimer that this was sent on behalf of District Leaders or release the names of these brave "leaders" who are behind this fraud.

And you should request all of the Democratic candidates for office to join you in this disavowal.

And if it should be traced to a member of the Town Council or his aide de camp, you should consider withdrawing before any more mud gets attached to you.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

And I think if you and your pal Paul want to control this site, the link from the town website should be gone.

hal samis said...

Dear Black Shirt,

No one stopped you from writing your comment; no one stopped you from writing a longer posting.

You may not like what I write but that's tough.

I don't like things I see written either so I write in response. Big deal.

Live with it. Or don't. Or don't visit this blog. I suspect that YOUR pals like having this site around to attack the Supervisor. I view it as an outlet for anyone in Greenburgh to express themselves.

It only seems to upset the new fascists who have been very active lately with a number of measures to keep the public out and shut down contrary opinion. I attended the DEMS meetings when they drafted their local Party platform. I don't remember your political intolerances making it to their slate.

Even on a site like this which probably doesn't get seen by more than a few hundred people, any uncontrolled outlet for free expression seems to be threatening to your kind.

The problem for you is that the world is running out of dictatorships and thus you are running out of places to live.
During your stay in Greenburgh, maybe it will make you happier if you can adjust to this blog by thinking of it as "open space".

Anonymous said...

Saw the Town Board agenda on the e list. There is a discussion of sidewalk policy. However, I haven't been able to find out what the council plans to propose. THe meeting is Wednesday. If there is a new proposal why won't the council release their new law to the public so we can review it in advance of the meeting?

Anonymous said...

Okay, who gave Samis the bad acid?

One minute he's demanding that Dem supervisor candidate Berger get hold of Al Gonzales (he might soon have some free time) to track down and identify the Dem district leader who had the outrageously shocking audacity to blog anonymously that town Dem district leaders wouldn't be bullied by Feiner or Samis, then the next minute he calls those who blog criticism of Feiner (and Samis) without signing their names "new fascists" and "black shirts" -- and on top of that he says that unless all candidates other than Feiner "disavow" the statements and get the culprits tracked down, he'll sling even more mud at them.

Well done Hal.

As this year's Feiner "pit bull," you have become the poster boy for all the dysfunction and division that Feiner has created.

Perhaps soon you'll tell us about the "cabal" and we'll know the torch has officially been passed from Garfunkel to you.

Anonymous said...

12:49 you should have the brains that Samis has.

Anonymous said...

And the guts.

Anonymous said...

and the principles

hal samis said...

to 12:49, anonymous Dem insider:
I know that mistakes happen in typing on the blog as they did during your conception as well.

But when a blogger types "District LeaderS" I assume that it was done on purpose to convey plurality.
Perchance it was really meant to be a posting from one District leadeR? Perchance is was really meant to be a posting from just one resident or one Town Council member?

But if one person is typing but meaning to represent the plural form, perhaps it would be more clear if they were to identify themselves as:
"anonymous, anonymous, anonymous, and anonymous said" so that readers will know that more than one person allowed their name or image to be used.

You see Anonymous of 12:49, what seems to you to be inconsistent elements do fit together if you are living in America. People don't get punished for speaking freely. Thus people could use their own name and speak without fear of retribution.

In this kind of society, the only bloggers who then would be concerned about supplying their name would be those who would be recognized for duplicity, for having professional reasons for discrediting someone else or for writing as though they represent a group larger than only themself.

Anyone who posts anonymously is assumed to be one, the person who has done the typing. My objection is when one person posts anonymously, claims to represent a large group and the mention of the particular group might be perceived to have some credentials to make their backing seem more valid than a mere, singular resident, say Hal Samis.

Furthermore, this anonymous post not only denigrates Mr. Feiner but also claims that Ms. Berger is "the One" and that also denigrates Mr. Greenawalt. It gives the impression that the Democratic Party has already selected Ms. Berger.

Since Ms. Berger has chosen not to step down from the Chair position (insurance in case these Democratic Leaders don't exist?), she still has certain responsibilities bearing this title to see that the campaign period is conducted on the highest moral ground. If she is aware that her supporters are not the ones who made this posting, she should make amends by distancing herself from this situation. If she is aware that her supporters, those that are Democratic Leaders, did authorize this, then she should ask them to identify themselves, if only to lend some credibility. If she ignores this event, then she is condoning a playing field laden with dirty tricks and misinformation. This is not an attitude that a person sitting as Party Chair should tolerate. And, if she needs an even better reason to do this, then she should look to her own platform which claims that she is the person who can put a divided Greenburgh back together. Looking the other way is not a negotiating technique.

Otherwise she looks like a person happy to sponsor chaos because it might somehow improve her outsider "cold day in hell" chance.

Frankly, I don't know why my response bothers people. Someone types that he/she is speaking for Democratic Leaders who think that Feiner is out and Berger is in. Why wouldn't they want to sign their names?

Of course there are those on the Town Council who use the blog to muddy the waters. And there are those from the Villages who from one side of their mouth ask for Ridge Hill and Indian Point support and then when it is dark come out to play. And there are those who would be a Village but they know the law and that is why they need to be anonymous.

And these anonymous bloggers are not being labeled black shirts or fascists because they don't sign their names; they are so labeled because of what they propose, how they want to limit the rights of everyone else, how they want to subvert the system. Mostly they ignore the message and attack the medium. That is why tests ask questions on factual content, not questions on innuendo.

And what I was implying is that mud is a dangerous and unstable compound. It is very difficult to handle or throw without getting dirty. If you're going to fling it, you better have some soap, water and towels handy. Otherwise, you may leave prints on your keyboard.

Greenburgh Exam, part I said...

Count the number of innuendos in Samis's screed. He'll smear anyone and everyone whom he suspects might have been engaged in the foul treachery of daring to besmirch him and his pal Paul by objecting to (omigod) their bullying.

Could it be that no one really cares?

Michael Kolesar said...

I am not taking sides other than to repeat my calls for posters to identify themselves. I too have been called to "task" by posters who will not identify themsleves. I find this "anonymous" behavior beneath additional comment, other than to say if you want to criticize someone at least have the guts to put your name out there.

As to those who think that Mr. Samis is a shill for Mr. Feiner, where have you been for the last few years???? He calls for a "clean sweep" of the Town Board (clean sweep !!!!) publicly.

To the Supervisor: This blog gives you invaluable information as to the feelings of some points of view. On the other hand, the continuing "Anonymous" character assinations are unacceptable. This blog will lose its relevance without the requirement that posters identify themselves. Reasonable public discourse is wonderful. This web site is positive despite the fact that you personally take a lot of heat. I am a private citizen as are Mr. Samis and Mr. Lasser, the only individuals who consistently identify themnselves. Consider changing the ability to post "Anonymously". You are the one hosting this, not others.

hal samis said...

Greenburgh exam,

In the interest of saving time for all anonymous blog readers, you can tell at a glance by looking at the upper left of the post before the text begins, who the author is. This is particularly useful when I am the contributor.

All the bloggers who don't want to read me can simply skip past by scrolling down. If you don't know how to scroll, contact "geek" on the supermarket posting.

But if you are interested don't be lazy and pass the hard work on to the next reader. Do something useful and count the number of innuendos yourself and note that in your blog. Consider that you've performed a great public service.

Let's use your own your short commentary as an example.
"screed (1)", "smear" (2), "foul treachery (3)" it's Saturday and there's a 2-1 sale, "bullying (4)".

But you follow by speculating:
"Could it be that no one really cares?"

Time out. Go to the bathroom at look above the sink.
After you're done with the mirror,
don't you feel silly by writing a blog comment to yourself. You could eliminate the middleman and just have the conversation with yourself, offline, wireless and by hand.

But just for fun, bloggers let's all take the challenge and scroll immediately up from Mr. or Ms. Exam and...compare the Educator with mine.

'nuff said!

Right On Hal! said...

Mr. Samis, I believe that you are correct in your assumption that the blogger in question is none other than our very own Councilman, Frances Sheehan. I have noticed that Sheehan is without laptop for the past two meetings. Could this be in response to some blogs regarding the legality of getting the love notes passed from Gil to Frances under FOIL? Now Frances/Gil is attacking you. This only means you are scoring direct hits and they are hurting the Bully. Frances has clearly seized control over Greenburgh Politics and it is about time that people follow your lead in exposing him for what he is. Dictators and Democracy are concepts that are polar opposites of each other. Sheehan has become one although he professes to adore the other. Mr. Samis, keep at it and God Speed!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Will Feiner and his supporters like Samis be demanding that the author of the immediately preceding blog be publicly identified too?

Don't hold your breath. Personal attacks like these are Feiner's trademark. He accuses others of what he himself has practiced over the years through Garfunkel, Gooljar, now Samis, and a host of other anger-filled Feiner sycophants. Make no mistake, though, it all comes from Feiner.

The end result is the dysfunction we now have today.

Dear Anon 12:50 said...

I can assure you that these sentiments represent the majority of people who have seen the Bully in action. Sheehan has even disappointed those who voted for him We should never forget what Gil Kaminer did to the school superintendent. If Frances does not like what you are going to say, maybe some day Gil will come up to you and whisper in your ear as well.

hal samis said...

Dear anons,

I am an equal opportunity advocate for signed entries.

However, I don't know for sure who any anonymous entry is other than a few authors whose writing style and comments elsewhere with the same phrases is their calling card.

So in terms of the good, the bad and the ugly, I would hope that everyone was willing to sign in.

However, I cannot force this upon either those who agree or those disagree with me.

And this is not my blog.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

I see plenty of differnet writing styles.

The only signatures I think are important are the ones on the voter registratin rolls.

And if Mr. Feiner wants a link from the town website to this, he has to keep the good wiht the bad

hal samis said...

Dear White Trash,

Ain't hed much larnin' has ya, cuz.

But in case you hadn't noticed the Supervisor's blog allows the good and the bad. The brave and the bully. The rich and the poor.
The humble, the sick, the tired, the downtrodden, the registered, the unregistered, Democrat, Republican, Independent, boss and labor, white and blue collar, the bold and the meek...All are welcome just like the Statue of Liberty greets new visitors. And would the Town Council threaten to shut down this institution also?

Proves what I've been thinking: that no one affiliated with the Town Council had a sense of humor.

But thanks for reminding me to check with the Board of Elections how many voters named anonymous are registered to vote.